6/14-20 Nicholson St
Coburg, VIC 3058
After my dissatisfying brunch at The Glass Den last week, I saw an article on The Urban List for a relatively new and unassuming cafe nearby called The Spot. Craving an unpretentious, well-made meal after the over-decorated faff at The Glass Den, I decided to pop by The Spot for brunch after work the following Saturday.
Bearded and smiling, Khalil Qubbaj made his entry into the Melbourne hospitality scene with this humble, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cafe. But there’s more to The Spot than what meets the eye. Look a little closer, and you’ll find a Middle-Eastern inspired brunch menu that draws its influence from the hours Khalil spent in his grandmother’s kitchen as a child.
But that’s not to say that The Spot is a stickler for tradition. With its fresh, minimalistic decor and cold brew coffee, The Spot is without a doubt a Melbourne born and bred cafe that has its finger on the pulse of the latest trends. There is, of course, a smashed avo dish on the menu, even if it is augmented with dukkah and labne.
Having appallingly gotten my caffeine fix 4 hours ago from an energy drink, I broke with tradition and ordered a Skinny Chai Latte ($4.8) instead of my usual coffee. Made with organic Calmer Sutra chai leaves, this pot of chai had a delicate mix of warm, gingery spices. It was a far cry from that horrible powdered stuff you often get.
Scrambled eggs may sound boring, but trust me – the Harissa Scrambled Eggs ($14.5) are anything but. Served on crusty sourdough, the swirl of richly golden scramble was lusciously creamy and downright heavenly. And although the warmly spiced eggs alone were dreamy as it is, they were topped with a dollop of sharp house-made labne for contrast, and a wedge of the freshest avocado. This plate of eggs is simultaneously comfortingly familiar and excitingly foreign – it is really something to behold.
I’m a big fan of ordering the most exotic-sounding dish on the menu, so the Mujudara ($13), made with Khalil’s grandmother’s secret recipe, got me seriously excited.
So what is Mujudara? Think a hearty dish of simmered rice and lentils, with a texture somewhere between fried rice and risotto, flavoured richly with cumin, chilli, and caramelised onions, then topped off with heavy dollops of labne and harissa paste. This brunch-friendly rendition includes the additions of beetroot and rocket which bring a lighter edge, and a gooey poached egg for good measure. With its bold, soulful flavours, this is comfort food that’ll mend any broken heart.
My meal at The Spot was different from The Glass Den in every conceivable way. Instead of overpriced plates styled for social media, The Spot focuses on what matters – the actual food. The dishes here were simple, but they overflowed with personality, backed by great produce. Whether it’s quality, value, or just sheer character, The Spot is hard to beat.
Rating: 15/20 – hits the spot.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.